"I don't care about labels. I am just following Jesus, and the Bible." Do such words sound familiar? If so, you may have stumbled upon a biblicist — that group of people whose fidelity to the Scriptures make them think that only a plain and "unbiased" reading of the biblical text will lead one to the truth.
On the surface, such a motto should sound appealing to every Christian. Who after all wants to add the philosophies of Man to the truths of Scripture? The problem however comes when we apply some thought to the issue. Do we interpreters of the Bible, any interpreter, really come to the Bible with a tabula rasa, a blank slate? Is there such a thing as absolute objectivity on the part of any man or woman on earth?
If there is anything where postmodernism has its plus side, it is to remind us that we ourselves are personally involved in the process of knowing and interpreting. We ourselves are situated in this present order, and our own upbringing and environment shapes how we think and to some extent even what we think. All people including myself are biased to some degree or another, and we approach issues not as a blank sheet of paper but as people with preconceived ideas and notions.
The biblicist view therefore is in error. There is no such thing as a "just the Bible" reading. That is why the Reformed churches have never just taken the Bible and read it "afresh" after removing all preconceived ideas from our brains. That is simply silly. What we have done is to take the Bible, read it and interact with others who read it, both our contemporaries and those who have gone before us. Only through interaction will we be able to correct our biases to a much greater extent, all done of course with the understanding that the Scriptures have the final say. We believe in Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), not Solo Scriptura (Scripture only).
Being a biblicist is not good. What is worse is being a biblicist who teaches the Word. We then have the specter of someone teaching his own opinions and affixing the label of divine authority on it, as if his environment and prior education did not influence his interpretation of Scripture at all. That is why James 3:1 is such a solemn verse for those of us who have or will be serving the Lord in some capacity or another as a pastor, teacher, scholar etc.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (Jas. 3:1)
It is a fearful thing to be called to account for the souls of those whom Christ has and will put in our care. One wonders why anyone would want to a teacher of God's truth, unless one is indeed called to this task.